Status: 20.05.2020 08:01 a.m.
NDR 1 Lower Saxony
After 92 positive corona tests in a meat factory of the Westfleisch company in Dissen (district of Osnabrück), consequences are discussed in Lower Saxony. Work contracts for employees in the meat industry are particularly criticized. The CDU spokesman for agricultural policy, Helmut Dammann-Tamke, called for companies to be made more responsible. However, he sees no alternative to contracts for work. The agricultural spokeswoman for the Greens, Miriam Staudte, criticized that contract workers were not covered in the event of illness, so that they also went to work in ailing condition. The grand coalition in Berlin wants to decide on consequences for the industry on Wednesday.
Dissen: 92 corona cases in a meat factory
Hello Lower Saxony – May 18, 2020 7:30 p.m.
The coronavirus was detected in 92 employees in a cutting plant in Dissen. Anyone who has tested negative will have to go back soon so that the meat does not spoil.
Work continues – DGB wants to demonstrate
The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) wants to protest today in front of the slaughterhouse in Dissen. The DGB criticizes, among other things, that the 186 negatively tested employees continue to work there. One cannot assume that occupational safety and the living situation of the contract workers have been improved in such a short time. The plant, which is operated jointly by the slaughter companies Westfleisch and Danish Crown, was closed on Monday. As the Osnabrück district administrator Anna Kebschull confirmed, the remaining healthy workforce would initially process around 2,000 tons of meat to prevent it from spoiling. Only then must the company close for two weeks.
Further positive tests expected
Meanwhile, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Health Carola Reimann (SPD) is expecting further positive tests in the meat industry: The state is waiting for the results from another company in Cloppenburg, Reimann told the NDR regional magazine Hallo Niedersachsen. According to the district, around 800 slaughterhouse employees have so far been tested in Emsland – two cases that were already known remained.
Dissen and Coesfeld supplied by the same personnel service provider
One thing is certain: the two Westfleisch sites in Dissen and in North Rhine-Westphalia that are affected by the coronavirus Coesfeld was staffed by the same service provider. “Most of the affected employees are workers of a subcontractor who also provides the staff in the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in Coesfeld,” said Reimann (SPD) on Monday in Hanover. The many infections brought the industry and subcontracting back into focus, the minister said.
Westfleisch wants to clear up
Westfleisch meanwhile announced that he would look for the causes of the many infections. “Now it is important to analyze the reasons for the test result as quickly as possible,” said the managing board of the slaughter company on Monday, according to a message. Westcrown follows the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute when dealing with those affected and his other employees, the company says.
Infected in quarantine, contacts are checked
The positively tested employees and their contact persons have meanwhile been sent to quarantine for two weeks. According to Minister Reimann, infected people who cannot be isolated in their accommodation should be accommodated in shared accommodation in the Osnabrück district. The negatively tested should come in single rooms. The company must bear the costs for this, Reimann said. 62 infected people live in the Osnabrück area, the others in the Vechta and Gütersloh, Steinfurt and Wesel districts in North Rhine-Westphalia. Further contact persons should now be identified.
Althusmann plans round table “slaughterhouse economy”
Economics Minister Bernd Althusmann (CDU) announced on Monday that he would like to invite to a round table “slaughter industry” in the coming days to consult representatives of trade associations, authorities and local authorities.
Whole number of cases in meat industry
The disease Covid-19 had recently broken out in several German slaughterhouses in Bad Bramstedt in Schleswig-Holstein and in Oer-Erkenschwick in North Rhine-Westphalia. The meat industry faces precarious working and accommodation conditions has been criticized for many years.